Is Your Swing Built on Timing?

We've all played those rounds where we have 14 solid holes and 4 holes where it seems as if we've never held a club before. This is a classic indication that your golf swing is reliant on timing. A situation where the face angle at impact is determined by the golfer "manually" inputing clubface closure through the impact zone

Here's Sam Snead taking the handle "around the corner"....

Here's Sam Snead taking the handle "around the corner"....

While there is no one method or technique that allows us to position the face correctly through impact on a consistent basis there are certain elements in the golf swing that will allow us to do a better job of managing the clubface. Watch...

If you can work towards making the "motorboat" curve around the corner you'll become much better at getting the "tube" to fling around - this way positioning the clubface appropriately through the strike will start to become more automatic and your swing will be less reliant on timing.

Here's a clip to illustrate what the hands should be doing as they pass through the strike...

Ideally the handpath should be traveling inward and upward. Get to work on the proposed drills and you'll start to see a decreased reliance on timing and improved consistency out on the golf course. Thanks for reading...and watching!

How to Stop Flipping - Guaranteed!

Ben Hogan once said that he despised any ball flight that curved from right to left (a draw!). Having been a chronic hooker of the ball in the early part of his career he knew what it was like to lose shots to the left. It wasn't until he found a way to overcome the dreaded flip through impact that the legend that is now Ben Hogan was created.

If you too struggle with untimely hooks and occasional blocks, you fully comprehend what Mr. Hogan had to overcome. Flippers have to rely on timing to make their shots go straight - the timing of the hand action through impact determines the outcome of each shot. And when impact between ball and face lasts for approximately 1/2000 of a second it's not that easy to be consistent - especially under pressure! The better you play, the greater your anxiety level, the less you control the timing of the flip - not a good recipe for low scores when it counts.

Having studied the swings of Hogan and Snead I found that when viewed from down the line it appears that the clubhead and ball seem to disperse aggressively post-impact. The clubhead moves quickly back inside the target line, while the ball launches straight. It almost appears as if they are trying to hit slices, yet the ball flight is very straight.

Watch the following video to get a sense of what to feel while doing the Anti-Flip Drill:

To practice the drill you will need the following:

  • Two alignment rods - one on the ground just outside the ball and another in the ground just inside the target line and 18-24 inches forward of the ball. Be sure that the one in the ground is leaning away from you (towards the target).
  • A 7 iron with the ball teed up so you can make sure it is in the same location relative to the rod in the ground each time.
  • Start small and slow, making sure you swing inside the rod with the clubhead and keep the face square to open thus launching the ball to the right of the rod.
  • Patience! Give it a few goes and you'll start to get the feel. Feel the clubhead and ball dispersing - one goes left and the other goes right. Remember that you have not been doing this "naturally" and that's why it feels so strange and "incorrect".

Here is the drill demonstrated in slow motion:

 

 

The Golf Swing and Time

A common complaint I hear from golfers is that their swings are too fast or aggressive.  They just have a sense that they are quick either in the transition or the downswing. Rhythm and pace are very important elements in the golf swing. When a golfer feels quick the first thing they do is try to 'slow down'...and in an attempt to get some rhythm in the swing they often go overboard and end up slowing everything down a little too much. This can lead to an overly slow start to the swing, which in turn leads to a rapid change in pace during the transition and on into impact.  It is this drastic change in speed that conveys the sense of quickness and aggression in the swing.

The PGATour average time for the backswing is right around 0.75 seconds, with an additional 0.25 seconds for the downswing. Notice that ideally there should be something close to a 3:1 ratio of backswing time vs. downswing time. That means that on average a Tour golfer will strike the ball in about a second from when the swing starts.  Ernie Els, one of the smoothest swings out there, takes just over a second to strike the ball while Nick Price, who has one of the faster swings, takes  around 0.8 seconds.  Far too many of golfers I teach take well over a second to complete just the backswing.  In watching Els or even Price, most golfers believe they swing a whole lot faster than either of those two top players - that is not the case.

Each of the above golfers are able to maintain a good rhythm in their swing because they maintain something close to a 3:1 ratio in their swings.  When a backswing takes over a second to complete the golfer is now faced with a 4:1 or even 5:1 ratio which feels way out of rhythm.

Here are a few pointers when trying to get better rhythm and pace back into your swing:

  • Don't try to speed up your backswing up too quickly - take one pill a day and not the whole bottle...
  • The body should not feel hurried; the wrists and arms will create much of the necessary increase in speed.
  • Try a few shots with the clubhead starting 2-3 feet ahead of the ball and then flow into the backswing in one motion. This gives the club a moving start and gradually increases the pace.
  • Remember that rhythm does not have to be slow...
  • Stay patient and gradually build up to it; try to build the speed in your downswing from the transition.

There are not many ways to track your timing ratio, but SwingCatalyst software does it for you.

Another factor to consider is that the less time your swing takes the less opportunity you have to get your body out of position. This is a very important factor and cannot be overlooked - keep the motion concise and it is more likely to be consistent. Give it a try....

Maintain Body Angles for Consistency

Have you ever struggled with shots that just don't seem to go where they should? The ball always seems to leak right or hook left. Today's post strives to get at the root cause of why your golf swing is so reliant on timing.

One of the more frequent mistakes I see golfers make is to stand up or lose their body angles through impact - the "stand and deliver" move! The loss of body angles or posture causes the body to stop rotating and as a result the hands now assume the responsibility of squaring the clubface. Remember - if the body does not rotate to clubface square, then the hands will help out. This move is very difficult to time, especially under pressure, and often leads to the hands overworking or flipping through impact. If the hands rotate the clubface too early the shot misses left and if they're a touch late, then the shot misses right.

Consistently straight shots are achievable only when the clubface is being squared via the rotation of the body through impact.

An indicator that you are losing your body angles through impact is that your divots (if you are even taking any) are always deeper on the outside than the inside. They are toe deep. (A big reason why an "active" fitting is not always the best way to go!)

A good method to ensure that the body continues it's rotation through the hit is to work on maintaining your posture or spine angle that is established at address. Hit little pitch type shots with an eight iron trying to feel that your torso stays down over the ball while clearing through the strike. A good feel is to try and sense that the hands are low through impact - they should feel like they are actually lower at impact than they were at address. You may even have the sense that the toe of the club is higher at impact than the heel. Try this DRILL

This is something that all of golf's greatest ball strikers have in common - Nick Price, Lee Trevino and Ben Hogan all did a fantastic job of maintaining their posture through impact. This allowed them to take the hands, and timing, out of the equation - a recipe for consistently good golf shots.

Body Angles | Andrew Rice Golf